Implications from The Bell Curve


I wonder some people can tolerate books such as The Bell Curve. After reading that book, I now focus on the quality of humans instead of their “inherent dignity”. Such a book stresses the quality of life of human beings instead of the value of human life itself. Long story short, people who are not genetically superior in the sense of The Bell Curve will live miserable lives. The book provided evidence that poverty, illegitimate children, welfare dependency, and crime are genetic phenomenon.

When I read that book, I was forced to relinquish any concept of innate human dignity.

any comments?


A book focusing on understanding and interpreting statistics should be your next choice. Books such as the Bell Curve are not intended to be predictions focusing on the individual, nor could they be. Stats are geared at groups. The Bell Curve adds a lot to the debate, but not at the level that many, perhaps you included, have interpreted it.

I read that book as well, and didn’t come to the same outlook that you did. Reading philosophical and spiritual books may help you come back to looking at people as beings with innate dignity.

Pax tecum!


Why do you come out against innate dignity, but at the same time you care about quality of human life? If dignity is not something that you have just going along with being human, does it have to be acheived? If it has to be acheived, then maybe they don’t desearve that quality of life.

I myself will contest the arguement at the begining to say that being human affords a person dignity which a part of that would include they ought to have quality of life as a concern by others, but that sounds a bit too much like innate dignity myself, which I don’t have a problem with.


That book made me afraid of having children.

I do not want them to fail in life; in order to guarantee their success; I will have to invoke embryo selection to ensure an auspicious future so they can secure positions of dignity and honor.

The Bell Curve is such a pernicious book; it says we should focus on people’s intelligence, not their inalienable human dignity.


Being smart is not a guarantee of success, nor is it a guarantee it is the kind of success that is to be desired. What is success anyway?


Publishing papers in Nature and Science.

I’ll say this, what if Alan Guth’s intelligence was reduced by three standard deviation units when he was born. Do you think he would’ve postulated cosmic inflation if that happened? If that happened, would he be at MIT?


Why do you keep bringing this topic up? You do realize that this book was written by people with an agenda, right? Why don’t you leave this type of book and read something spiritually uplifting? Science is not the end all and be all of thought (and I’m married to a scientist!), there are other topics, other views and other things to think about!!!

mother to 5 children, whose success will be measured by their being moral people and their attainment to heaven and not whether they drive a sporty car…:rolleyes:


Meiosis is a rather risky gamble, I prefer not that take that gamble as The Bell Curve argues the stakes are rather high. I just want my future children to be treated with dignity and have something they can be proud of. Embryo selection will increase their intelligence by a standard deviation unit, so their intelligence will be at 3 standard deviations above the mean. I do not want them to fail in life and be miserable.

*The Bell Curve *argues a paucity of intelligence is at the root of all our social problems. But that book has made me extremely miserable. Why did I have to read it?


Let me try again. READ SOMETHING ELSE!!!




What I just got Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis today. Should I read that?

But what should I read?


Oh my. PLEASE read a book on interpreting statistics. Stats do not make any sense at the individual level and to interpret it that way (which is what you are doing) is WRONG.

BTW - intelligence doesn’t guarantee happiness. If you got that from the Bell Curve, you should perhaps switch to less challenging books. If you think that at all, you should read more books on the nature of happiness. I’m in Mensa, and while I am happy, I haven’t always been.

Also - I don’t think the writers had “an agenda” as another poster has said. Pursuit of the truth in all matters is important.


The book says that people with low IQs have a propensity to fail. Their low IQ does not guarantee it, but it increases their chances for economic failure. Intelligence does not guarantee wealth; for example the Pearson’s r for IQ and socioeconomic status is about .33 .,%201996,%20intelligence.pdf

This a moderate, but significant correlation.

I could join Mensa too if they accept people who are two standard deviations above the mean. I thought they didn’t initially. I heard the meeting are rather vapid and about a fifth of its members are cranks.


The writers weren’t qualified in the appropriate sciences to make the claims they did. There are tons of critics about their application of stats and theories. Of couse I’m NOT in MENSA so I suppose I could be wrong…:rolleyes: The ulitmate TRUTH is GOD.

What should you read:
Catholic Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
St Thomas Aquinas
lives of the Saints

and here are some other ideas

or these

Hope that helps…



Try reading this quote by Mark Twain:

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics.”

As someone with some training in statistics and statistical analysis I will be one of the first to say that you can usually spin the numbers so they support your point.

Also, like money, intelligence does not guarantee happiness.

As for reading suggestions? How about To Kill a Mockingbird or better yet Flowers for Algernon–it is a wonderful example of intelligence not causing happiness.


I love that Mark Twain quote. It’s so true; one can tweak stats in many different ways, and just because it’s published doesn’t mean it’s true.

Ribozyme, if your definition of success is a published paper in Science or Nature, I suggest you look through some back archives for papers retracted due to fraud. One cannot even entirely trust those paragons of scientific achievement. One can trust even less many books produced by publishing houses.


Happiness <> economic success. Happiness <> intelligence. Happiness <> “genetic superiority”. Happiness <> “quality of life”.

That book made me afraid of having children.

Why? Such statistics are meaningless to your individual case.

I do not want them to fail in life; in order to guarantee their success; I will have to invoke embryo selection to ensure an auspicious future so they can secure positions of dignity and honor.

Given that this could be even remotely true, there’s no way of determining intelligence in the womb. So, I don’t see your point.

The Bell Curve is such a pernicious book; it says we should focus on people’s intelligence, not their inalienable human dignity.

How frustrating this is. It makes NO such claim.


Most meetings of any kind are vapid, and I think that 20% of the membership in most organizations are cranks.


Unlike you, I will skip sarcasm is my reply. The OP was basing his statements on what the authors of the book said, relying on ‘perceived authority’ rather than cast a critical eye at the arguments.

So, in turn, I mentioned Mensa (since this debate is focusing on intelligence) so to counter with perceived authority. I was not insinuating that I am smart, therefore I am right.

Now, have you actually read the book? While I practice what you practice as well (in terms of reading critics… and supporters… of various theories), I found it personally necessary to actually read the book.

In doing such studies based primarily on statistical analysis of social phenomena, one doesn’t need to be an expert in a given subject. Social scientists can study, for example, alcohol use and child abuse without being an expert in either subjects. It’s not like the physical sciences where one would be lost without a sound and thorough knowledge of the sciences.

So many social problems that come about from the individual (out of wedlock childbirth, etc) come from people making bad choices. Certainly this is not at odds with our Christian belief. The study add to the knowledge that we have, and no study is the be-all end-all. Of course, I read everything with a critical eye, even the Bell Curve.


Hey Rib, I just checked out your profile:

I am proud godless liberal
No religion/ egalitarianism

I think there’s an agenda somewhere, but it is not in the Bell Curve per se.

I think I’m finished with the thread.


There was a piece about this last night on the news on TV. There was a man who had an IQ up in the 190 range - the extreme far right end of the bell curve. He was ridiculed by his father when he was a kid because of his interests. Dad eventually made his life so miserable that he became a bodybuilder. He attended college for less than two years, dropped out, and became a bouncer in a bar. He has never finished college. He now owns a ranch where he raises horses. In his spare time he his working on proving the existence of God through quantum theory. He states that he is happy with his life.

The article went on to say that the IQ of the average college graduate is 100 and it gave the requirements to join MENSA.

Ribozyme, I repeat what I have said to you before. The bell curve merely represents the totality of human experience. You can have an IQ from the far left of the bell curve or the far right. Either is fully human and a child of God.

Intelligence, in and of itself, is not a predictor of success or of the caliber of human being a person is. In my years of life I have met far too many people who’s IQ was less than mine and have been humbled by their generosity and charity.

If IQ was a predictor of success, DW and I would not be living hand-to-mouth. While not geniuses, both of us qualify for MENSA and both of us work for government. I wish I could say that I was doing what I wanted but I’ve raised two children and have been able to provide - thanks be to God. DW is doing what she wanted and like the guy with the IQ up in the 190s, she’s happy.

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